WASHINGTON - For the second time in less than four weeks, Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon called out an opposing manager for an act he thought crossed the line of sportsmanship.
Maddon took aim at Washington Nationals manager Davey Johnson after Johnson asked the umpires to check Joel Peralta's glove and hat for a foreign substance during the eighth inning of Tuesday's 5-4 Rays victory at Nationals Park.
The umpires did and found what home plate umpire and crew chief Tim Tschida called "a significant amount of pine tar" inside Peralta's glove.
Peralta, who spent part of the 2010 season with the Nationals, was ejected from the game will face a suspension that could be as long as 10 games.
Maddon was angry over the incident after the game. He didn't deny that Peralta had pine tar on his glove but implied that using pine tar is a common practice among pitchers.
"I promise you one thing - you're going to see brand new gloves throughout the major leagues starting (Wednesday) with pitchers on every particular major league ball club, and furthermore, if you want a reaction to the entire event, I would go talk to the National players and see what they think," Maddon said, indicating Washington players, particularly pitchers, would be upset that their possible secret to success was uncovered thanks to their boss.
Maddon didn't stop there.
As he did when he called out Boston manager Bobby Valentine for ordering Franklin Morales to hit Luke Scott with a pitch during the ninth inning of a game May 25 in Boston, Maddon took aim at Johnson.
"It's kind of a common practice that people have done this for years," Maddon said. "To point one guy out because he had pitched here a couple of years it's probably common knowledge based on that.
"So I thought it was a real cowardly - and I've used that word twice this year."
Johnson defended his move.
"It was a rumor that he liked a little pine tar," Johnson said. "I was hesitant to do it. (Tschida) was looking at me kind of grinning. He said, 'What do you want?' I walked out and said, 'Why don't you check it, just to make sure. I'm curious.'"
Peralta, the first pitcher in Tampa Bay history to be caught using a foreign substance, tipped his hat toward the Nationals dugout as he walked off the mound.
"Good for them. They still lose the game," Peralta said. "We bring in a pitcher who's doing even better than me, Jake McGee. He shut the door down and we win the game. That's all that matters."
Like Maddon, Peralta didn't deny the presence of pine tar. When asked why it was on his glove, Peralta said, "That's the glove that I use for batting practice every day, and that's how it gets there, just playing catch a little bit."
The incident overshadowed a Rays victory that featured seven solid innings from David Price, who earned his ninth win of the season, two more hits from Carlos Peña, including his first home run since May 30, and a two-run triple by Elliot Johnson that sparked a four-run third inning.
McGee replaced Peralta and pitched a perfect eighth inning, and Fernando Rodney pitched a perfect ninth for his 20th save of the season.
The win also enabled the Rays to gain a game on the first-place Yankees, who lost for the first time in 11 games Tuesday against Atlanta.
The Rays' victory would have been a nice finish to a day that began with the announcement that Jeremy Hellickson was headed to the disabled list with right shoulder fatigue and will miss two starts, and that Evan Longoria's rehab from an injured left hamstring will be delayed indefinitely.
Now the Rays are about to lose their bullpen setup man, and the pen itself will be a man short while Peralta serves his upcoming suspension.
Maddon was upset that Peralta's reputation will now be called into question because of the incident.
"To single out Joel Peralta and make him look like a bad guy or villain of any kind, that's what's going to upset me," Maddon said. "That this is all going to lay on Joel, and I don't like that at all."
Peralta was upset that he was caught but said he wasn't upset with the Nationals.
"I played one year and I did my best to help the team win games. I had a really good year, I get along with everybody. I don't care what they do," he said.
Washington pitching coach Trent Jewett was Peralta's coach in 2010 when Peralta was in Triple A. Peralta said he did not hold a grudge against Jewett if in fact Jewett was behind Johnson's move.
"I don't care who said something or anything, but Trent was like my dad in Triple A," Peralta said. "Even if he did say something I don't care. He was really, really good to me."
Maddon had the umpires check search Nationals pitcher Ryan Mattheus in the ninth inning but the search came up empty. Mattheus took it in stride.
"I'm not going to take it personal," he said. "It's gamesmanship. We did it to them. I'm sure they wanted to make sure we weren't at an unfair advantage with something sticky in our gloves. I didn't take it as an insult."
When asked if the incident would spill over to Wednesday night's game, Maddon said, "I'm going to find out when they lay out the ground rules."
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